As a songwriter, I like phrases . . . when words weave into melodies in just the right way, instantly married together. Even better when the phrases are distilled.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the word ‘distilled‘ and its essence, and all the things I wish I could have known sooner. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked how things were going with Real Estate, and commented that it was nice to see me ‘blossoming’. That was an encouraging phrase because ‘thrive’ is another word I’m clinging to . . .

Things were and are going well. And. They have been messy and difficult and I was feeling existentially frustrated with the timing of my life. Becoming awake and aware of seemingly significant blind spots, and recognizing patterns that have hindered me has also been messy and difficult.

This phrase, how could I have known?, sits simply toward the conclusion one of my favorite songs {Like The Dawn} on one of my favorite folk albums {Through The Deep Dark Valley | The Oh Hellos}.

In the past few days, the Lord has graciously provided clarity and confirmation about some of the things I believe I am to give my life to, and it’s been humbling and refreshing and I am so stoked. And I can see more clearly where and how God’s timing has been good . . . how I wasn’t ready to do it well before like, yesterday; how I have chronically “miss-understood the assignment” to borrow some jargon from the youth, ha.

Another frustration that’s been triggered lately is contextually related to me feeling some type of way about the timing of my life . . . in certain conversations, people who self-identify as having rebellious, contrary, or otherwise recalcitrant tendencies seem to project their own history of self-inflicted struggle onto other people, making assumptions about the cause of someone else’s current situation.

It has seemed sometimes like they have no concept for how different it feels to find yourself in hardship when all you’ve ever wanted and tried to do is the right and honest and responsible thing. And how could they know? Psalm 73 helps. And so does having the humility to recognize that those people are not fundamentally different from me. I, too, spent my twenties trying and wanting to do my own thing. It just so happened that my own thing was socially acceptable and – in my mind – For The Kingdom.

Because I have always been of the more responsible persuasion and was often celebrated for wisdom in my youth, I have not always appreciated letters to people’s younger selves. A lot of times it seemed like a litany of common sense to me, but I get it now. People start in different places and come from different directions. Whatever may seem like an obviously simplicity to me is the sheer grace of God, and there are plenty of lessons I have been late to learning that someone could easily judge me for not having already known.

So here’s mine . . . on an awkward Friday evening in January, no where near my birthday and a few weeks into the fresh start of a year . . . a letter to my ten years ago self who was mere months away from college graduation . . .

Dear Bekkah,

Go to Caribou with your friends. There aren’t any prizes for not drinking coffee through college, and your body has been keeping score in other ways.

{Except I am actually really fond of the way my coffee journey started, being coaxed into it with well-crafted, West Coast mochas in the company of hipster church planting friends.}

Take up space in the world. Sing for the youth group a little bit longer. Winnipeg is going to be so much fun!

{Except Winnipeg was such a glorious surprise and I wouldn’t want to have known about it sooner . . . }

Be kinder to your mother. You are, unfortunately, right about that hunch you have had, and don’t know her whole story. She won’t be here much longer.

Don’t let pride, narcissism, insecurity, or peer pressure keep you from diversifying your friend group, and seeing the people in front of you; don’t let those things rob you of enjoying friendships with men. You do need them. They do add value to your life.

You’re not going to get the ring by spring. Let it go, love. You’re not getting married for ten more years, at least. So enjoy the scenic route, because that’s the route you’re taking. The lane you are in is a good road to travel.

Keep blogging and don’t delete them! Relax the urge to digitally purge.

Also, Matt Papa is right. Ha.

Don’t confuse struggle with work ethic. I know your whole life has felt hard and uphill, but your work ethic isn’t actually as strong as you think.

Consistency is key. Being responsible now is not going to keep you from having to put in effort later on. Life just requires it. And God is pleased with your faith. So be more open to life and color and emotion. Take a few more calculated risks.

Don’t confuse exhaustion with fear. Intimidation is hounding you; nipping at your heels and breathing down your neck. But God is a refuge for you, and greater is He who is in you, than He who is in the world. God is the strength of your heart. You’re not as weak, or even as tired as you think.

You are right to seek first the Kingdom and prioritize cultivating intimacy with God, but you need more instruction on what seeking first the Kingdom actually means. Keep listening to Papa Keith; you need that wisdom tucked in every crevice of your soul.

Maybe don’t date anyone named Kevin. 🥴

You are greatly loved by Love. Receive it.

Even in writing this, I feel I better understand the heart of God in giving us snippets that require us to seek Him, and giving us opportunities to exercise our faith with patience. There’s more I could want to be able to tell my future self, but it wouldn’t necessarily be helpful. Somethings do just take maturity and the passage of time.

I am so thankful for the wisdom God did impart in me early in life through my parents and churches and His words; I have been spared a lot of shenanigans and heartbreak. His ways are right and just and it’s only remnants of pride that want all the knowledge possible to never make a mistake in life. All I have needed His Hand and Heart have provided. His faithfulness to me has been great, and it continues to be . . .

This week, the following two passages have relaxed my propensity towards frustration, encouraged my faith, and inspired me to be more compassionate with each iteration of my self:

no, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead . . .

Phillipians 3:13

Take heart, friends! The best is yet to come.


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